On March 23, 2020, British government announced a national lockdown to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. There was then a period of Lent, one of the most important periods for Christianity. Masses were cancelled and believers were prevented from attending churches. A year later, what has changed and what conclusions can be drawn from the past 12 months?
It was like a punch in the stomach for Christians living in the UK. One of the side effects of the movement restriction measures imposed by the Government a year ago was the cancellation of all official Easter commemoration ceremonies. Churches of all Christian denominations were closed and each one lived within his own home this important period for that belief.
12 months later, the United Kingdom is going through its third lockdown caused by a pandemic that insists on not disappearing but the freedom of movement is more relieved. The churches are no longer completely closed and the faithful can attend masses as long as they comply with some hygiene rules.
“Not being able to support the victims was a shock for all of us”
Catholic Father Paul Inman (in the photo), responsible for the Church of Our Lady of The Sacred Heart, in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, remembers the early days of the lockdown, going back 12 months in time.
“It was a shock for all of us, priests, because our instincts say us that we have to visit the sick.”
“It is something that is in the Gospel – visit the sick and care for the dying – and suddenly they tell us that we cannot do anything because it is against the law.”
And since the faithful could not go to the Church, the priest decided to make the Church come to the faithful through online meetings and thus the Word continued to be disseminated. But over the past year, it was at funerals that Paul Inman noticed a real change. Ceremonies that normally held dozens, if not hundreds of people, were restricted only to the family closest to the deceased since the beginning of the pandemic. A situation that, according to the priest, caused a new approach to this type of religious events.
“Funerals had fewer people, so they became more intimate, more personal than before, because the immediate family and no one else was present.”
“We priests find ourselves making a connection that, in some cases, was more profound, since we were part of truly intimate events with grieving families.”
And a year later, what remains as a lesson and what can be expected to result from here for the future? Father Paul believes that, like the rest of society, the Church will also undergo a renewal.
“Just like the wider society, the Church will witness the emergence of movements with a view to its renewal or purification. However, I believe that other sectors of society will try to make everything as it was before and return to the old habits.”
According to the 2011 Census, Christianity is the major religion, followed by Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism in terms of the number of adherents. Among Christians, Anglicans are the most common denomination, followed by Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists. Until April 4, Easter Sunday, Christians from all over the world celebrate the life and work of Jesus Christ.